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Don’t download this smart speaker update or it could break yours

This has not been a good year for operating systems. In fact, in some cases they’ve become digital weapons of mass destruction.

It started with Microsoft 10. It seems as if every patch Microsoft puts out destroys a function in the OS. Click here to learn more about Microsoft 10’s update problems.

Well, Apple be not proud. iOS 13 patches and updates are causing their share of mayhem as well. Now, the latest iOS patch has found new victims. And the poor things were just minding their own business.

iOS 13: The update of doom?

As part of its victory lap announcing its new AirPod Pro, Apple released a patch for its iOS 13.2 and an update to audioOS. Eager consumers updated their software and, oops, they bricked their HomePods.

The HomePods are Apple’s answer to Google’s Home and Nest Mini, and Amazon’s Echo. They’re smart speakers with great sound quality…At least they were.

The updates caused a cascade of problems for HomePods, with some users reporting the updates have made their HomePods completely unusable.

For others, the updates caused Apple Music to temporarily go offline, leaving users unpairing and resetting their HomePods in hopes of a quick fix. This created something akin to the “Beachball of Death,” which those with Macs know precipitates a cold reboot.

Beware the “Beachball of Death.”

The problems caused Apple to pull all its recent software so people can’t update their HomePods and render them useless. If you try to update, the system will simply time out.

Apple hasn’t issued a statement on what it plans to do with all those dead HomePods, but hopefully they’ll address the issue soon.

Bad time for HomePods

This latest snafu couldn’t come at a worse time for Apple’s HomePods. Apple’s Smart Home Kit is seriously lagging behind Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. It isn’t easy to create a central command for all the smart devices scattered throughout a home, including speakers, interface displays, skills and routines. Click here to learn more about the latest Google Home devices.

Apple has kept its compatible smart home-enabled devices very limited, no doubt as part of its penchant for proprietary products. The HomePods are meant to be Siri’s smart speakers, just like the Minis are for Google Assistant and its various spawn for Alexa.

But the pickings are lean for HomePod, and now with what could be thousands of bricked devices, consumers may stick with their iPhones for Siri, but turn to Google or Amazon to create a smart home. Click here to discover 7 secrets to using Alexa.

Not the first time

Apple’s most recent iOS update comes as the result of an initial release plagued with problems. When iOS 13 first became available for download, numerous users reported issues that rendered their phones insecure or unusable.

Reports included crashing, glitches and a serious security issue that let anyone bypass the lock screen. Click or tap here to find out more about iOS 13’s initial launch.

To combat the problems, iOS released version 13.1. This update repaired some of the more urgent issues, but some users still reported problems with backing up their phone, using their camera and shining the flashlight.

Not long ago, Apple released further updates that did fix previously broken features, but with each new iOS update came a slew of flaws.

The latest update fixes bugs that prevent a device from ringing or vibrating for an incoming call, prevent opening a meeting invite in Mail, cause Apple Watch to not receive notifications and disconnects Bluetooth from certain vehicles — and, as previously stated, it bricks HomePods.

Maybe this latest iOS problem with the HomePods will cause Apple to re-evaluate how it can play nice with other devices in order to open up its smart home kit — but don’t count on it.

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